Wednesday, May 31, 2006
The Education of a Poet
Her pencil poised, she's ready to create,
Then listens to her mind's perverse debate
On whether what she does serves any use;
And that is all she needs for an excuse
To spend all afternoon and half the night
Enjoying poems other people write.
In case you don't know, choriamb is a splendid livejournal blog about poetry in all its forms. And the good news of the week is that Tanya, who writes the blog, and who was thinking about stopping, has decided to keep writing it!
Her blog is always inviting.
Thank you, Tanya, for writing.
He praises Huck Finn as a symbol of American individualism. Against contemporary communitarians, he argues that community solidarity of the European sort is actually a dangerous thing.
"After all, you'd never get 200,000 Huck Finns to goose-step and 'Seig Heil' with the mindless, robotic fervor of those Germans in Triumph of the Will."
Try to imagine
With all those marching Germans.
Which is truly
The triumph of the will?
A troop of hollow
Or that unruly,
Rafting down the river...
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
I think it's the addition of the religion angle that has made the book a monster hit. The book paints an alternate history of Christianity that is obviously attractive to a contemporary audience. Jesus becomes more of a man, and a non-virginal "sacred feminine" gets rewritten into Christian history.
We saw the movie with a friend who had not read the book. She really liked the move and found it thought provoking. Marsha and I found the movie a bit less thrilling, but that was partly because we already knew all the secrets and twists.
Do I have to believe this story
When it tells me that the Templars
Really were exemplars
Of dedicated glory?
Or were they simply gory
Guys who trampled
Lives to build their ample
It was hot today. But the crowd support was great. A lot of people ran their garden hoses out to the street to spray us down or give us a drink.
The parade included veterans, and a few folks in military uniform. They got applause.
For something new this year, the parade included war protesters. They looked to be about my age. I actually think they were the same guys I saw protesting the Vietnam effort back in the 60's.
It was like an acid flashback, except they had grey hair.
And I never even took any acid - really - I swear!
Protesters, go away.
Come again another day.
Today's for remembering people who got shot.
Not people who marched and waved signs a lot.
Monday, May 29, 2006
I remember this from when I was a child,
But wouldn't it be wild?
The Republicans, instead of embracing investors,
Could all become war protesters.
Sunday, May 28, 2006
"If you don't like the weather here, wait an hour."
The carpenter bees are back with the heat, drilling holes into the old wooden swing set. They nest inside wood, a clever trick. But you can't have bees living in a swing set. Some visiting kiddie might get stung. So the bees must go.
Creeping Charlie is back. He's a minty-smelling weed that likes to take over the back yard. I don't mind him, and the dogs don't mind him, but Marsha likes grass and flowers in the back yard, rather than a Creeping Charlie Farm.
Creeping Charlie means no harm.
He's just trying to start a farm.
Creeping Charlie, weed from hell,
With that pleasant minty smell.
Saturday, May 27, 2006
Lately there has been more emphasis on self-reproducing as the key attribute. This makes it easier to count viruses and genes as alive.
So who is supposed to be selfish here, the Person or the Gene?
It's the problem of the chicken and the egg.
It keeps on going - boy it has great legs.
I've self-sustained and also reproduced.
I guess that gives both sides a little boost.
Perhaps it's two sides of a single coin.
At least it's clear how often they are joined.
Friday, May 26, 2006
With fur of orange and black and white.
Furiously he sits and typesThe tiger roams the jungle ground
A nasterpiece with lots of bite.
With deep green eyes that search for prey.
Creepily he looks aroundYou don't have time to scream or shout.
For someone new with whom to play.
The outcome leaves no room for doubt.
She rips you up and spits you out.
You're splattered with an inky blot.
Your reputation's fully shot.
You think he's sorry? No. He's not.
Thursday, May 25, 2006
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
I dreamed I saw the ghost of Rand
Wandering angry across the land.
I asked her what was wrong, and she
Said "A.R.I. and T.O.C.!
Frankly, I critique them both.
Open? Closed? I roundly loathe
All such false dichotomies.
Search my works and you will see
Just how clearly I declined
To say I had an open mind;
Nor did I say my mind was closed;
I said the choice was badly posed,
And that the true alternative
Was keep an ACTIVE mind, and live!"
I bet they're shocked. Just about everything causes lung cancer.
How could pot...
Oh, cripes, what if it's a miracle drug
That's been swept under the rug?
If that turned out to be true
There'd be some 'splaining to do.
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
Monday, May 22, 2006
If you want to imagine what it's like to have a horse
Shot out from under you, he's your man.
Still, I'm not a fan.
In other words, say a character has a notion
To get something done, and tries to put in motion
A plan to make it so...
Well, once you've read War & Peace, you know
That plans never work.
Jerk them into a state
Beyond all recognition.
Better just to wait
And flexibly adapt.
That way you don't get slapped
Around by fate.
But none of this is true.
After all, plans do
And when I sit down to read
In characters who can get things done.
Which nobody does in this whole damn book. So for me it wasn't fun.
Sunday, May 21, 2006
My fear is that once it's a Standard Language, government bureaus will try to Standardize the Language.
The French do this sort of thing, and I find it scary.
Also I'm worried that maybe
To say "Hasta la vista, baby,"
Will be so far beyond the pale
That I might end up in jail.
Friday, May 19, 2006
He is also buried in the Dominican Republic. Just ask the Dominicans.
This just in: the Spanish set of bones has been verified as the real McCoy by DNA testing.
I think they've got it.
Speaking of mystery burials, based on tips from a new informant, the Feds are digging for Jimmy Hoffa in some horse pastures, just west of Detroit, at the exquisitely named Hidden Dreams Farm.
Does he reside in Michigan -
Or is it a faulty snitch again?
Thursday, May 18, 2006
So Baby has had 3 vet trips in 5 days, getting fluid injections and antibiotic shots.
Apparently Baby has distemper. It can be fatal, and there's a nasty variety roaming the south end of Chicagoland, but Baby, who was up to date on her distemper shots, is expected to pull through.
The real cost of a pet
Includes the bills from the vet,
And the way you get upset
When she's not all better yet.
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
War&Peace breaks out into philosophy:
"When an apple has ripened and falls, why does it fall? Because of its attraction to the earth, because its stalk withers, because it is dried by the sun, because it grows heavier, because the wind shakes it, or because the boy standing below wants to eat it? Nothing is the cause. All this is only the coincidence of conditions in which all vital organic and elemental events occur."
You can see where this line of thought
Might suggest that, really, one ought
To structure one's novel quite loosely
Or even a bit obtusely.
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
But it does not.
Yes, it has a story, or at least an interconnected set of stories, it has certain families it follows, it has dramatic events, it moves in chronological sequence, it has major characters, it is brilliantly written.
But, all in all,
If you care, here's an interesting lit-crit book about storytelling technique in Tolstoy's Big Book. I was reading it at the library today at lunch.
You know, most doctors rely a lot on asking the patient questions. But vets, not so much.
"Did you eat anything odd today?"
The patient won't say.
Sunday, May 14, 2006
(And, yes, over a room-service breakfast, just before I left, I gave Marsha a card and a small gift.)
That way I got to see my mother on Mom's Day. She has been having some severe health problems lately. The good news is that she seems to be on an upswing at the moment.
Still, her being ill
Casts a chill.
Saturday, May 13, 2006
Thursday, May 11, 2006
We saw a well-done re-enactment of the royal governor, Lord Dunmore, closing down the Virginia legislature. He hoped to suppress displays of sympathy for those rebellious tea-partiers in Boston. In response, Virginia legislators issued a call for a big meeting of representatives from all the colonies.
Of course, we know that idea got way out of hand!
He closed down their doors,
But helped open a mess.
Maybe Lord Dunmore
Should have done less.
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
This is the place where 20,000+ men were killed or wounded on 9/17/1862.
Antietam Creek ran red
With the blood of the injured and dead.
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
Now he believes that he could get a fair trial in the U.S. - if he could just take his confession back.
First he pled guilty to terror.
Now he says it would be fairer
To redo that plea
To "poor innocent me".
He's proceeding by trial and error!
Sunday, May 07, 2006
Just before he was born, we rushed out to buy a crib, and a teddy bear, at Toys-R-Us.
I remember we made up the crib, put the teddy bear inside, and just stared at the empty spot that soon would have a noisy little occupant.
The job is large:
To be in charge
Of someone small
Until they're tall.
Well, he's tall now. Happy Birthday, John!
Saturday, May 06, 2006
Friday, May 05, 2006
Thursday, May 04, 2006
The intruder was spotted by a construction worker. The construction worker's boss laid a trap, and eventually managed to capture the intruder. All with no help from the federal protective agencies!
The intruder was kind of furry,
And loved to scamper and scurry.
Do you need to ask
Who was behind that mask?
Yes, it was a raccoon.
The link has a good cell-phone photo of the little fella climbing 43-story scaffolding like it was his personal tree.
Wednesday, May 03, 2006
Soon I may need
To pick up the speed
When I read.
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
Monday, May 01, 2006
Wasn't quite so loud.
Yes, that is my self-centered remark about the immigration march. They went by my window for a full 2.5 hours of chanting and drums and occasional horns, holding flags, mostly American and Mexican, but with many other countries represented as well. As is to be expected, there was some evidence of the radical left: a Che banner, a "Workers of the World Unite" banner. But mostly it looked like ordinary people.
It was hard to work with all the racket. People in the office kept coming by my window for a look, too, further disrupting my efforts to concentrate and code.
I walked among them a bit. I overheard a teenage boy, on seeing a black police van, say "They can't arrest us all." I also heard a 3 year old girl say "Grandma!" I think the younger generation is picking up el Ingles.
They need to learn English, so that they
Can read my verses every day.
Picture of crowd with huge flag.
Picture of cleanup crew.
Update: according to local Fox TV news, police put the crowd at 400,000, making it the biggest demonstration in Chicago history. They reported there had been no arrests. Is that even possible?